scotch (v.)

early 15c., scocchen "to cut, score, gash, make an incision," a word of obscure origin. Century Dictionary considers that it might be a deformation of scratch. Chronology rules out connection with scorch. Perhaps [Barnhart] from Anglo-French escocher, Old French cocher "to notch, nick," from coche "a notch, groove," perhaps from Latin coccum "berry of the scarlet oak," which appears notched, from Greek kokkos

The meaning "stamp out, crush" (often figurative, of abstract things) is by 1825, earlier "make harmless for a time, wound slightly" (1798), a sense that derives from an uncertain reading of "Macbeth" III.ii.13). Related: Scotched; scotching.

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maim (v.)

c. 1300, maimen, "disable by wounding or mutilation, injure seriously, damage, destroy, castrate," from Old French mahaignier "to injure, wound, muitilate, cripple, disarm," a word of uncertain origin, possibly from Vulgar Latin *mahanare (source also of Provençal mayanhar, Italian magagnare), of unknown origin; or possibly from a Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *mait- (source of Old Norse meiða "to hurt," related to mad (adj.)), or from PIE root *mai- (1) "to cut."

In old law, "to deprive of the use of a limb, so as to render one less able to defend or attack in fighting." Related: Maimed; maiming. It also is used as a noun, "injury causing loss of a limb, mutilation" (late 14c.), in which it is a doublet of mayhem.

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raze (v.)

1540s, "completely destroy," an alteration of racen "pull or knock down" (a building or town), from earlier rasen (14c.), etymologically "to scratch, slash, scrape, erase," from Old French raser "to scrape, shave," from Medieval Latin rasare, frequentative of Latin radere (past participle rasus) "to scrape, shave." This has cognates in Welsh rhathu, Breton rahein "to scrape, shave." Watkins says it is "possibly" from an extended form of the PIE root *red- "to scrape, scratch, gnaw." But de Vaan writes, "Since this word family is only found in Italo-Celtic, a PIE origin is uncertain." From 1560s as "shave off, remove by scraping," also "cut or wound slightly, graze." Related: Razed; razing.

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rehearse (v.)

c. 1300, rehersen, "to give an account of, report, tell, narrate (a story); speak or write words;" early 14c., "repeat, reiterate;" from Anglo-French rehearser, Old French rehercier (12c.) "to go over again, repeat," literally "to rake over, turn over" (soil, ground), from re- "again" (see re-) + hercier "to drag, trail (on the ground), be dragged along the ground; rake, harrow (land); rip, tear, wound; repeat, rehearse;" from herse "a harrow" (see hearse (n.)).

The meaning "to say over again, repeat what has already been said or written" is from mid-14c. in English; the sense of "practice (a play, part, etc.) in private to prepare for a public performance" is from 1570s (transitive and intransitive). Related: Rehearsed; rehearsing.

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dressing (n.)

mid-14c., "rule, control," verbal noun from dress (v.). In some Middle English uses also short for addressing. In cookery, "sauce used in preparing a dish for the table," from c. 1500. Meaning "bandage applied to a wound or sore" is by 1713.

Dressing-gown "a loose and easy robe worn while applying make-up or doing the hair" is attested from 1777; dressing-room "room intended to be used for dressing" is from 1670s. Dressing-up "act or fact of attiring oneself with attention to style and fashion" is by 1852. Dressing-down (n.) "a reprimand" is by 1839, American English, originally "a thrashing," perhaps ironic or extended from some 19c. mechanical or commercial sense.

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baleful (adj.)

Old English bealufull "dire, wicked, cruel," with -ful + bealu "harm, injury, ruin, evil, mischief, wickedness, a noxious thing," from Proto-Germanic *balu- (source also of Old Saxon balu, Old Frisian balu "evil," Old High German balo "destruction," Old Norse bol, Gothic balwjan "to torment"), a word of uncertain etymology.

During Anglo-Saxon times, the noun was in poetic use only (in compounds such as bealubenn "mortal wound," bealuðonc "evil thought"). The equivalent noun is missing in modern German, Danish, and Swedish, and in English bale long has been archaic or poetic only (OED says "Marked obsolete in dictionaries soon after 1600"), while baleful in modern English long has been poetic or literary only. Related: Balefully.

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offend (v.)

early 14c., offenden, "to disobey or sin against (a person, human or divine)," a sense now obsolete, from Old French ofendre "hit, attack, injure; sin against; antagonize, excite to anger" and directly from Latin offendere "to hit, thrust, or strike against," figuratively "to stumble, commit a fault, displease, trespass against, provoke," from assimilated form of ob "in front of against" (see ob-) + -fendere "to strike" (found only in compounds; see defend).

Meaning "to violate (a law), to make a moral false step, to commit a crime" is from late 14c. Meaning "to wound the feelings of, displease, give displeasure to, excite personal annoyance or resentment in" is from late 14c. The literal sense of "to attack, assail" (late 14c.) is obsolete, but it is somewhat preserved in offense and offensive. Related: Offended; offending; offendedness.

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hurt (v.)

c. 1200, "to injure, wound" (the body, feelings, reputation, etc.), also "to stumble (into), bump into; charge against, rush, crash into; knock (things) together," from Old French hurter "to ram, strike, collide with" (Modern French heurter), a word of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Frankish *hurt "ram" (source also of Middle High German hurten "run at, collide," Old Norse hrutr "ram," Middle Dutch horten "to knock, dash against").

Celtic origins also have been proposed. The English usage is as old as the French, and perhaps there was a native Old English *hyrtan, but it has not been recorded.

Passive (intransitive) use "feel or experience pain" has been occasional in modern English; current usage dates from c. 1902. Meaning "to be a source of pain" (of a body part) is from 1850. Sense of "knock" died out 17c., but compare hurtle (v.). To hurt (one's) feelings attested by 1779. Other Germanic languages tend to use their form of English scathe in this sense (Danish skade, Swedish skada, German schaden, Dutch schaden).

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plague (n.)

late 14c., plage, "affliction, calamity, evil, scourge, severe trouble or vexation;" early 15c., "malignant disease," from Old French plage (14c., Modern French plaie), from Late Latin plaga "affliction; slaughter, destruction," used in Vulgate for "pestilence," from Latin plaga "stroke, wound," probably from root of plangere "to strike, lament (by beating the breast)," from or cognate with Greek (Doric) plaga "blow" (from PIE root *plak- (2) "to strike").

Sometimes in Middle English also "a strike, a blow" (late 14c.). The Latin word also is the source of Old Irish plag (genitive plaige) "plague, pestilence," German Plage, Dutch plaage. Meaning "epidemic that causes many deaths" is from 1540s; specifically in reference to bubonic plague from c. 1600. Modern spelling follows French, which had plague from 15c. Weakened sense of "anything annoying" is from c. 1600.

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ribbon (n.)

early 14c., riban, ribane, from Anglo-French rubain, Old French riban "a ribbon," variant of ruban (13c.), a word of unknown origin, possibly from a Germanic compound whose second element is related to band (n.1); compare Middle Dutch ringhband "necklace."

The modern spelling is from mid-16c. Originally a stripe in a material; the sense of "narrow woven band of some find material" for ornamental or other purposes is by 1520s. The word was extended to other long, thin, flexible strips by 1763; the meaning "ink-soaked strip wound on a spool for use on a typewriter" is by 1883. A a torn strip of anything (fabric, clouds, etc.) by 1820. As a verb, "adorn with ribbons," by 1716. Related: Ribboned. The custom of wearing colored ribbon loops on the lapel to declare support for some group perceived as suffering or oppressed began in 1991 with AIDS red ribbons.

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